Krugman’s got this right. Mitt Romney said recently that he supports free market choices in health care because he likes being able to “fire” your insurance company and/or your medical provider if you don’t like what they’re doing or what they charge.
That couldn’t be any further from the truth. As Krugman explains below, the only time it’s easy for someone to make a change is if there’s nothing wrong.
Anyone remember “pre-existing condition?” And how that’s handled by the “free market”?
And I’ll add one thing that Mr. Krugman doesn’t touch on.—— Let’s say you’re located in a medium sized city. There are 3 health systems. One of those you don’t even consider because of the bad reports and reviews you’ve seen, and people you have talked to.
That would leave you with two systems to “negotiate” with for the best deal. Both of those systems, let’s say, are already overwhelmed, — they have a steady influx of patients, so they have no interest in “negotiating” to begin with. Add to that the fact that they would certainly be able to talk things over a little bit between themselves, and make sure that their prices were pretty much in line with each other.
So,…. tell me,…. where exactly does your free market negotiating power come from in that situatuion? The answer would be that you have none. And if you’re actually sick, you’re pretty much toast.
From Krugman’s blog this morning:
January 10, 2012, 10:26 am
Aaron Carroll has an excellent analysis of Mitt Romney’s faux pas on firing people. No, Romney didn’t actually say that he enjoys firing people — but what he really did say, that competition works in health care because you can fire your insurance company, was actually worse. Carroll:
The real issue, unfortunately, is that very, very few people have the luxury that Gov. Romney is endorsing. Let’s say that you are self-employed, and lucky enough to have found a company to provide you with health insurance. Then, let’s say you develop cancer. You suddenly find out that your insurance company stinks. So you fire them, right?
Of course not. You’re screwed. Now you have a pre-existing condition. There’s not an insurance company out there that wants to cover you. So you don’t fire them. You scream, and curse, and cry, but you’re stuck. Only healthy people have the luxury of picking and choosing.
Let’s also not forget that most people don’t find out that they’re not getting “good service” until they’re sick. Healthy people don’t make much use of their insurance, so they don’t know how bad it is. They only find out after they’re ill, and then it’s too late. It’s only fun to fire the insurance company if you’re sure you can go to another company to get what you need. Almost no one can.
Why, it’s as if Romney doesn’t understand his own health reform, which was in large part about ensuring not that you can fire your insurance company, but rather about ensuring that your insurance company can’t fire YOU.
And this is a bit subjective, but isn’t it awesome how Romney’s lack of empathy shines through? He evidently has no sense of what it’s like NOT to be the very wealthy son of an already wealthy father; no idea how the fear of unemployment or medical bills afflicts ordinary Americans.